T-Mobile Plans Even Faster 2022 Network Buildout

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T-Mobile continues to set goals only to exceed them. The carrier covered more than 210 million people nationwide with its Ultra Capacity 5G by year end 2021, which exceeded its goal of 200 million, Peter Osvaldik, EVP & CFO, T-Mobile US Inc., said during the online Citi AppsEconomy Conference 2022 last week. The pace of deployment will only get faster in the coming year, he added.

“This machine that Neville [Ray, President of Technology] and team have going, it’s absolutely going to be something that we’re tremendously focused on and accelerating the pace as much as possible in 2022, given the competitive advantage that it creates for us,” Osvaldik.

T-Mobile is still concentrating on accelerating its network build, with the goal of bringing in capex from 2023 into 2022. “I believe capex will likely be higher year over year, as we race to implement and create this network even faster than we planned,” Osvaldik said.

Osvaldik said the MLAs signed with Crown Castle and American Tower give T-Mobile  “everything we need to go and deploy this network as quickly as we are.”

Along with going really fast, the carrier also prioritizes expansion into differentiated markets such as government and enterprise and coverage of smaller markets and rural areas, as well as high-speed internet fixed wireless access, he said.

The only thorn in T-Mobile’s side, it appears, is the churn that results from the Sprint merger, according Osvaldik, which he said is heightened because of the speed of T-Mobile’s rollout. But even that has a silver lining. 

“To deliver 844,000 postpaid phone nets, plus the 1.8 million total postpaid net customer additions, in light of that heightened Sprint churn is amazing,” Osvaldik said.

Another function of the Sprint merger is network integration is moving all of the traffic over to the anchor T-Mobile Network. Osvaldik said the carrier is on pace to move the Sprint LTE traffic by May and to decommission all the Sprint towers by the end of 2022.

“So that’s the goal that helps us and allows us to free up all of that spectrum, so we can start realizing what is the largest portion of synergy coming from the network,” Osvaldik.

In another planned change to the network itself, which has picked up some controversy, T-Mobile still plans on decommissioning its CDMA 3G network on March 31.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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